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Rafael Benitez denies Juventus agreement

Rafael Benitez
Benitez says his priority is to secure a top-four Premier League finish

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has issued a statement dismissing reports he is to join Juventus while reaffirming his commitment to the Reds.

Several Italian newspapers claimed the Spaniard had agreed terms to take over at the Turin giants in the summer.

But in a statement, Benitez, 49, sought to quash the continued speculation.

"Contrary to reports in the Italian media this weekend, I want to make it absolutely clear I have no agreement with Juventus," Benitez said.

"I have not and will not be meeting Juventus or their representatives or any other club.

"I have a long-term contract with Liverpool and I'll repeat what I said on Friday that I am happy here and my only focus is to do my job as well as I can to get the team back into to the top four, beginning with the derby against Everton."

Reports in Italy on Sunday said Benitez had made a verbal agreement with Juventus about taking over in June.

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It was claimed that officials from the Turin club were in talks with Benitez's lawyers, who would then negotiate his release from his contract at Liverpool, which runs until 2014.

The Italian side sacked manager Ciro Ferrara on Friday and appointed Alberto Zaccheroni as caretaker until the end of the season.

Benitez had previously refused to rule out the switch, admitting on Friday that he was "proud" to be linked to Juventus.

Sunday's statement gives Liverpool fans more clarity about their manager's thinking, just as results appear to be improving.

The 2-0 victory over Bolton on Saturday was the Reds' sixth straight league game without defeat, suggesting the Spaniard may yet come good on his much-maligned "guarantee" of a top-four finish.

However, he remains under pressure following early exits from the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup and the failure to mount a title challenge.

The Reds, currently 13 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea, host Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday.



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see also
Benitez plays down Juventus link
29 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool 2-0 Bolton
30 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Juventus name Ferrara as manager
05 Jun 09 |  Europe
Benitez link to Juventus denied
26 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Wolverhampton 0-0 Liverpool
26 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Fit-again Gerrard may face Wolves
25 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez plays down Jones dispute
25 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez job safe, say Liverpool
14 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Gillett gives backing to Benitez
22 Oct 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez signs long-term Reds deal
18 Mar 09 |  Liverpool


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